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How Latina artist, Kali Uchis went from living in her car to winning a Grammy.

Kali Uchis is a Latina who went from living in her car to becoming a grammy-winning artist.

The 27-year-old artist was born Karly-Marina Loaiza in Alexandria, Virginia to immigrant parents. She and her family returned to Colombia when she was 4 or 5 years old, but the violent conditions forced them to move back to Virginia when she was a teenager. It was in Virginia that she began to pursue her passion for music. In high school, she played the saxophone, and piano and became the first chair of the jazz band. Although she enjoyed playing instruments at school she began cutting class and breaking her curfew to film short films and work on her music. At 17, her parents kicked her out when she had to start working at a grocery store, couch surfing from friend’s houses, and eventually living in her Subaru. She eventually reconciled with her parents and moved back home in August 2012 where she grew the courage to post her music online. In an interview with BBC, she states that she “...made 17 songs in one night”, which she compiled into a lo-fi mixtape titled “Drunken Babble”. She didn’t expect anyone to listen to it but to no surprise, she caught the attention of internationally renowned artists Snoop Dogg, Gorillaz, and Tyler, the Creator, and invited her to be featured on an album. She accepted the offer and eventually released “Ridin’ Round” and “Know What I Want”, which reached more than 10 million views on Youtube. Uchis is now a three-time nominated artist and won her first grammy at the 64th annual Grammy Awards in 2021 for “10%” with Kaytranada for “Best Dance Recording”.

She now has more than 16 million monthly listeners on Spotify and recently released a new single titled “Desafinado” that will be featured in the new Minions movie, “Minions: The Rise of Gru”. But her success doesn't stop there; her hit song “Telpatía”, with more than 600 million streams on Spotify, hit No.1 on Billboard's Latin chart. She became the first solo female artist to reach No.1 in nearly a decade, surpassing Bad Bunny and Jhay Cortezs song “Dákiti”.

Uchis pictured in her self-directed music video for her viral hit, “Telepatía” which was shot in her hometown, Pereira, Colombia.

Although she has risen to fame she has never forgotten her roots. Uchis makes a conscious effort to give back to her community in Colombia and uses her platform to raise awareness about the incessant violence and long-standing armed conflict. In an interview with The Last Magazine, she stated, “ I started my own charity in Colombia with my dad and we just do little things to try and help in any way that we can.” The charity is called Visión Valores y Vida, there is no website set up yet but she has partnered with Depop so when people purchase her clothing from the app all the proceeds are donated to her charity. If you want to witness the queen herself in person she will be performing on August 6th, at the upcoming Outside Lands music festival. With several artist collaborations, a movie feature, and a Grammy Award, Uchis has truly risen to the top and made a name for herself despite being homeless and many other challenges she faced along the way.

Keep up with Kali Uchis on Instagram, Twitter, & Kali Uchis's Shop - Depop.

“In Pursuit of… Perspective with Kali Uchis”. A video she did for Adidas & Finishline where she opens up about her past and how she got to where she is now.




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